Mainland Preparatory Academy to change name, continue commitment of classical education

By January 11, 2016 Uncategorized

Contrary to rumors, Mainland Preparatory Academy isn’t closing, officials said.

The charter school is sound and planning for a very successful future, said Kyle Queal, vice president of learning and leadership development with ResponsiveEd.

“We’re moving full-steam ahead,” Queal said.

ResponsiveEd is a community of tuition-free, public charter schools that Mainland Preparatory Academy joined at the start of the 2014-15 school year.

ResponsiveEd expanded its Texas campuses by taking over Mainland Preparatory when the campus was forced to give up its charter after two straight years of dismal financial performance.

Originally, the partnership began to help the school improve its finances, but that developed into a permanent partnership between the two entities, said Diane Merchant, director of Mainland Preparatory Academy.

However, there will be one change to the charter school that has been a staple in the mainland communities since 1998. The school will be changing its name to better reflect some of its curricular enhancements, campus officials said.

Starting with the 2016-17 school year, the school will be called Mainland Classical Academy.

“The name change comes because this year we began the first of a two-year phase in where we change into classical academies,” Queal said.

The classical-style curriculum and overall model of teaching includes aspects such as mandatory uniform dress, strong phonetics and literacy programs, a major emphasis on foreign languages and encouraging the learning of the Latin and Greek languages across the board.

“It’s a teaching style that encourages things like thinking philosophically about math instead of just memorizing facts,” Queal said. “And emphasizing history, good literature and having a strong core knowledge of subjects like history, geography and science.”

That basic fundamental style of teaching is something Mainland Preparatory has prided itself on for years, Merchant said.

“It’s a continuation of what we’ve been teaching for years,” she said. “Our commitment has not wavered.”

The goal was to instill a love for learning in students, she said.

“It’s a return to basics,” Merchant said.

She said the curriculum would extend into every classroom — even into the gymnasium — where Friday, students who had been learning about west African culture learned the basics of a traditional dance.

“We’re not looking at this as short term,” Queal said. “We’re here to support them from operations, financial health and academics. We’re excited about building bridges for this community and being an option to provide quality education to these children.”

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Bridget Weisenburger

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